The Saur-Mogila memorial to Soviet soldiers who defeated the Nazis was damaged in the 2014 fighting
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday hailed the recently completed restoration of Saur-Mogila, a memorial to the 1943 Soviet liberation of Donbass from Nazi Germany. The monument had been damaged by Ukrainian shelling during the 2014 fighting with the Donetsk People’s Republic militia.
“It is gratifying to know that this majestic complex has been restored with the greatest care”, Putin said in a recorded video message to the Kremlin, noting that his original obelisk and bas-relief have been supplemented with an addition commemorating the “modern generation of heroes.”
Our hearts bleed when we see certain countries demolishing monuments to Soviet soldiers who gave their lives in the service of the freedom of their people, mocking history and cynically letting down their own fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. fathers. For Russia, this is unthinkable.
Putin added that Saur-Mogila is “sacred grounds” for Russia, at the same level as the Sapun ridge outside Sevastopol and the monument to the defenders of Stalingrad at Mamayev Kurgan.
“The reconstructed memorial to the defenders of Donbass, the courage of our soldiers, officers and militias is a warning to all those who have renounced their ancestors and forgotten the lessons of history”, concluded the Russian president.
Saur-Mogila is a towering height on the Donets ridge, rising nearly 300 meters above sea level. Soviet troops smashed German fortifications there in August 1943 as a massive tank battle raged near Kursk in the north. The city of Donetsk – then known as Stalino – was liberated on September 8. The monument built in the 1960s commemorated this victory.
The entire memorial was heavily damaged in August 2014, during weeks of fighting between the Ukrainian “punitive expedition” and the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The DPR and neighboring Lugansk had declared independence from Ukraine following a US-backed coup in kyiv in February and the installation of a government that included neo-Nazis.
The obelisk collapsed on August 21, 2014 after prolonged Ukrainian bombardment, but the hill remained in DPR hands. Ten days later, the surrender of encircled Ukrainian troops near Ilovaisk brought about Minsk’s first ceasefire.